One of the workshops facilitated focused on “Youth and Sustainability”. The objective of the session was to provide learning opportunities about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they are. This would educate the Change Agents (CA’s) to know what they can do to make their immediate communities and YMCAs sustainable. The aim of the information-sharing is to highlight the SDG 12 – Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns to encourage young people to practically develop these practices.
The workshop held on the Sunday, 3rd September 2017, consisted of two 45-minute repeat sessions and was cumulatively attended by 75 CA’s from 30 countries as well as Jose Varghese of the World Alliance of YMCAs. During the sessions, the CA’s were guided through the concept of “Sustainability”. To understand that its application was universal and far-reaching, touching every aspect of humanity. This then led to a deeper understanding of the SDGs adopted by the United Nations. The participants were encouraged not to wait for Government interventions or just lament about the failures of the previous generation but look at how they could personally lead sustainability in their community and YMCAs.
Emphasis was placed on SDG 12 – Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, which aims at creating a balance between consumption and production; the statement “doing more with less” as a popular slogan. Change Agents were also given an opportunity through open discussions and small group discussions to share ideas, hopes, experiences and comments.
My facilitation was well- received with positive reviews from participants to the workshop. Among them, the expression of the workshop touching on an important topic that is being neglected. CA’s applauded the encouragement of a change of perspective to promote pragmatic personal efforts. As one of the outcomes of the workshop, it was observed that immediate action should be taken at the Global Gathering to encourage reuse of water bottles to reduce the amount of litter by disposed water bottles that are served with every meal. This view was positively received by the organizers. This led to a reduction in the litter even if it was slight.
I personally enjoyed the opportunity to discuss with YMCA leaders the concept of sustainability with the hope that we could create a sustainable environment in our YMCAs, communities and World at large. One that provides a “safe-space” for our children and their children through the actions and efforts we take today.
Zinta Istifanus Akpoko
Facilitator – Youth and Sustainability Workshop